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UC Berkeley swim coach under investigation over abuse allegations

Cal swim coach Teri McKeever, shown at the 2019 NCAA championships, has been accused of fostering a toxic culture within the program. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

The U.S. Center for SafeSport has opened an investigation into University of California Berkeley women’s swim coach Teri McKeever, USA Today reported Thursday.

McKeever, who served as the U.S. women’s team head coach during the 2012 Olympics, has been accused by current and former Cal swimmers of verbal and emotional abuse and bullying. The allegations came to light in a blockbuster report from the Orange County Register earlier this week.

Cal placed McKeever on administrative leave Wednesday night pending an investigation. Swimmers in the Golden Bears program walked out of practice earlier Wednesday.

“We will follow all university policies and protocols for investigating and addressing these allegations,” Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a statement to the Register. “We are replying to everyone, including parents and former student-athletes, who has reached out to us as quickly as we can, while we are also providing resources for members of the program who are in need.”

The 60-year-old coach has led Cal to six Pac-12 swim championships and four NCAA titles across 29 seasons, but swimmers say she created a toxic environment inside the program.

USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport, referred the case to SafeSport, according to USA Today. SafeSport primarily investigates allegations of sexual misconduct in Olympic sports, but the organization has also investigated other types of abuse.